If videogame worlds were tourist destinations then Dragon Quest's would surely be among the most visited. The central castle's white marble pillars are plucked from the most imaginative six-year-old girl's princess fantasy. As you stand in front of its gates, looking out upon endless pea-green hills rolling under tireless SEGA-blue skies, the vista is nothing short of idyllic. Even when you venture down through the town and descend into the murk of a nearby dungeon, the air is warm, the monsters chirpy and charming and the ambiance devoid of Dungeons & Dragons' musty fear and danger. This world is Oblivion repainted with Super Mario 64 textures: knights, castles, valour, steel, and loads and loads of ChupaChups.
This warm feeling is helped no end by the world's residents, all of whom speak their funny lines with pantomime grandeur and overblown British accents straight out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The first boss you encounter, the Brian Blessed-esque Sir Dirk Worthington, seems to have been named precisely so an NPC can chirrup, "You defeated Sir Worthington, warrior of worth, in the worth of worth at the end of the walk of the worthy." It's all very silly and, if you allow yourself to get into the spirit of things, this kooky character elevates an otherwise mediocre game to one that's cute and interesting.
As you will gather from the mouthful of a title, DQ Swords Wii is a spin-off to the mainline Dragon Quest lineage, a series of games that have for decades now stood as Japan's most popular. The result is a peculiar RPG that has its roots in a much older DQ spin-off, the Japanese-only Kenshin Dragon Quest. A TV plug-in game, it was sold with a plastic sword and ran on its own hardware without the need of a console (a bit like those dodgy Atari knock-offs where the ROM-containing controller plugs directly into the TV).